Hawks, Jazz play longest NBA game in 15 years

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Hawks, Jazz play longest NBA game in 15 years

From Comcast SportsNet
ATLANTA (AP) -- Joe Johnson was exhausted by the time the Hawks and Utah Jazz had dragged each other into a fourth overtime -- in Atlanta's third game in three nights, no less. "It was unbelievable," he said. "I just had to laugh it off. I've never played in a game like that." Johnson scored 37 points, Josh Smith added 22 and the Hawks ended Utah's six-game winning streak with a 139-133 victory Sunday night in the NBA's first quadruple-overtime game since 1997. The four overtimes tied for the third-longest game in NBA history. It was the ninth NBA game to go four OTs and the first since Phoenix beat Portland 140-139 on Nov. 14, 1997. Al Jefferson finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds, and Paul Millsap had 25 points and 13 boards for the Jazz before both players fouled out in the final overtime. "We'll take a moral victory out of this one," Millsap said. "This was a good ball team we played tonight. They played excellent defense. We just didn't get it done." Atlanta has won four straight and six of seven. The Hawks improved to 30-20 and moved one-half game ahead of Indiana for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. "It would happen on the third (straight night), but it shows the toughness of this ballclub to be able to push through that many overtimes and come out victorious," said Smith, who fouled out with 1:57 left in the first overtime. "It was a special win, and I think we'll probably appreciate this win more so than any other win during the season thus far." Johnson ended the first quarter with 18 points after going 8 of 8 in the period. He missed eight of his next nine shots, including a potential game-winning runner with 3 seconds left in regulation, before hitting a 3-pointer that forced the third overtime. With 16.9 seconds remaining in the fourth OT, Johnson's 20-foot jumper over C.J. Miles gave the Hawks a 135-131 lead. "I got some great looks in that first quarter," Johnson said. "I got into a rhythm early and for whatever reason it took me a little while to get that rhythm back, but other guys stepped up and made plays." Jeff Teague, who had 18 points and nine assists, added a pair of free throws with 13 seconds to go to make it 137-133. Johnson's two free throws sealed the victory with 5.5 seconds remaining. Zaza Pachulia, who pulled down 20 rebounds, hit a short jumper in the final seconds of the second quarter that gave the Hawks a 17-point lead, their biggest of the game. Utah rallied with a 27-9 run, giving the Jazz their first lead since early in the opening period. Millsap's 16-footer made it 65-64 with 3:23 left in the third. Jefferson gave the Jazz their biggest lead of the game when his turnaround 12-footer made it 109-104 in the third OT, but Utah never went ahead in the final two periods. "It's over with," Jefferson said. "We've just got to get ready for tomorrow. That's why you get in shape. We can't make any excuses. It was their third game in three nights. They found a way to pull it out in the end." The Jazz, who have won only one road game when they trailed after three quarters, fell to 7-17 away from home. They began the day as one of six teams separated by only 1 12 games for the final five playoff spots in the Western Conference. "We showed a lot of character and fight," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "That's what we need on the road in the second half to win. We've got to make sure we understand that's what's going to make us have a chance." Utah's biggest lead in regulation came when Gordon Hayward's two free throws made it 93-89 with 5:31 left in the fourth. Hayward scored 19 points and Devin Harris handed out 10 assists for the Jazz. Not surprisingly, Johnson was delighted when Jefferson and Millsap both picked up their sixth foul in the last OT. "I was so happy when they fouled out, man, you wouldn't even believe it," Johnson said with a smile. Notes: The teams were a combined 2 of 16 from the field in the first OT, and their combined four points tied for 2nd-fewest in NBA history in an overtime period. ... Utah dropped to 1-16 when trailing on the road after three periods. ... The lead changed hands 14 times. ... The score was tied 19 times. ... Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said that G Raja Bell is still waiting for results of a second opinion on a strained left adductor that's sidelined him for the last six games.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Breaking down the World Series hangover

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Breaking down the World Series hangover

Do the Cubs have a World Series hangover?

On the latest edition of the Cubs Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Bay Area Giants Insider Alex Pavlovic joins CSN's Patrick Mooney to talk about the World Series hangover, how last year's playoff loss lingered in San Francisco, Johnny Cueto's quirks, the legend of Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija's ups and downs.

Plus Kelly Crull, Jeff Nelson and Tony Andracki break down the Cubs’ defensive struggles this year compared to an historic 2016 and how Ian Happ fits into the Cubs’ lineup in both the short and long term.

Listen to the latest episode below:

What does Caleb Swanigan's departure for NBA mean for Purdue and the 2018 Big Ten title race?

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USA TODAY

What does Caleb Swanigan's departure for NBA mean for Purdue and the 2018 Big Ten title race?

Caleb Swanigan, unsurprisingly, is heading to the NBA.

Last season’s Big Ten Player of the Year announced Wednesday that he’ll pass up the final two seasons of his NCAA eligibility for a paying gig at the professional level, an awesome opportunity for a kid who battled obesity and homelessness to become one of the best basketball players in the country.

But Swanigan’s departure from West Lafayette means a heck of a lot to the Big Ten.

Without the league’s most dominant big man, what becomes of Purdue’s chances at winning a conference title? Similarly, with a weakened — though still strong — group of Boilermakers, what does the Big Ten race look like going into 2017-18?

First, Purdue. Matt Painter’s program is plenty healthy, and while there’s no doubt that losing Swanigan is a big deal, the Boilers got some really good news, too, Wednesday when Vincent Edwards announced he’ll be returning for his senior season. Seven-footer Isaac Haas also made the decision to return to West Lafayette, meaning the towering frontcourt hasn’t been completely decimated just because tha man called “Biggie” is gone.

Purdue will also return Carsen Edwards, who had an impressive freshman campaign, and Dakota Mathias, a terrific defender and 3-point shooter. Two more important pieces — P.J. Thompson and Ryan Cline — are back, as well. And Painter will welcome in freshman Nojel Eastern, a highly touted guard from Evanston.

So the Boilers are still in very good shape. There will be a big magnifying glass on Haas, who despite his physical attributes hasn’t always found consistent on-court success. But there have been plenty of flashes of brilliance from the big man. A big step forward in his game would go a long way in easing the blow of losing Swanigan and could keep Purdue as one of the frontrunners for a conference title.

That brings us to the Big Ten race. Ever since Miles Bridges, the conference’s reigning Freshman of the Year, announced he’d be returning to Michigan State for his sophomore season, the Spartans have been the near-unanimous favorite. Only something like Swanigan deciding to stay at Purdue could’ve changed that. And with Swanigan expectedly heading to the NBA, Michigan State remains the preseason pick to win the conference crown.

Like any good year in the Big Ten, though, there will be challengers.

But Michigan State is the popular choice to win it because of Tom Izzo’s insane 2016 recruiting class is returning completely intact: Bridges, Nick Ward, Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford are all back. And Izzo brings in one of the top 2017 recruits in forward Jaren Jackson.

But Sparty isn’t the only one with an impressive returning group. Purdue’s experienced roster has already been covered. Northwestern, a surprise contender in 2016-17, should be even better as Bryant McIntosh, Vic Law and Scottie Lindsey enter their fourth year playing together. Dererk Pardon, a shot-blocking whiz at center, is also back, as is sharp-shooter Aaron Falzon, who sat out the 2016-17 season with an injury after starting during his freshman year in 2015-16.

There will be big shoes to fill for some perennial contenders like Maryland — which must replace Melo Trimble — and Michigan, which watched eligibility run out on Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin before D.J. Wilson decided to head to the professional ranks Wednesday. But those teams have plenty of talent returning, too. The Terps will have all three of their fab freshmen — Justin Jackson, Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter — back for sophomore seasons, while the Wolverines have Moe Wagner back in the fold alongside Xavier Simpson and Duncan Robinson, among others.

And what of last year’s shocking contender, Minnesota? The Golden Gophers didn’t lose too much this offseason and will return almost every main player from last year’s 24-10 squad: Amir Coffey, Nate Mason, Reggie Lynch, Jordan Murphy, Dupree McBrayer and Eric Curry.

There are up-and-comers to think about, too, such as last year’s freshman-heavy squads at Iowa and Penn State. And could new head coaches Brad Underwood and Archie Miller make instant splashes at Illinois and Indiana, respectively?

If it sounds a little too much like the annual coach speak that “any team can win on any night” in the Big Ten, that’s because there is a good deal of truth to that oft-used phrase.

There are definitely tiers to this thing, though. Even without Swanigan, Purdue is still in one of those upper tiers. But there might be no team besides Michigan State at the very top of the heap, something underscored by Swanigan turning pro.